Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159. La Potato Restaurant in Spenard.

We’ve been taking a week-long break at our cabin in McCarthy, and this morning I rose before daylight at 7:30 AM here in the Wrangell Mountains.  We have been doing some fat biking around the roads and trails that connect key places in the Kennicott Valley.  On our ride from our cabin south of McCarthy to the town of Kennicott, the glaciers and mountains were spectacular, Mt. Blackburn looming in the evaporating clouds, and the Root and Gates glaciers glistening in the distance like diamond encrusted jewels.  Our route took us past the new and ever popular The Potato Restaurant in McCarthy.  It is slumbering like all the bears out here with a “Closed for the Season” sign and all the picnic tables put away for the winter.  Meanwhile in the big city of (Los) Anchorage, a new hipster hangout has popped up like a mushroom in the sun after a fall rain shower.  La Bodega teamed up with McCarthy’s Potato crew to make a pop-up restaurant called La Potato, located in Mr. Whitekey’s old haunt, the Fly By Night Club.  If you are newer to town you might know this place as the Taproot, or the most recent, and briefest occupant, Route 33. 

Pamela Hatzis, the proprietor of La Bodega, the cool liquor store where you can get boutique wines and by-the-bottle beers, wanted to have a place of her own where she could host tasting events.  She has been doing a righteous job running the ever popular liquor store with two new locations springing up in the last four years, one in Girdwood and a second Anchorage location at the Northern Lights Center Mall.  Rebecca Bard, one of the owners of the McCarthy and Valdez Potato restaurants has been wintering in Anchorage and working for Pamela at La Bodega for a while.  She has endeavored to school the Bodega team on how to run a successful restaurant.  The end result is a spectacular success with the pop up restaurant everyone is raging about, La Potato.  Raging is the word.  Maria and I attempted to go there on Saturday late afternoon, on the second day in business, and the parking lot was overflowing like Moose’s Tooth during a First Tap event.  We came back when we thought it would be less busy Thursday last week.  We easily found parking and came in to find a lovely draft menu, as well as great canned and bottled beer offerings.  I am sure there was some good wine and saké offerings as well, I just neglected to search them out.  I ordered some rosemary garlic fries and the duck egg kimchi plate, and I recommend both.  Watch out though, the garlic fries are a litmus test for how much your date really likes you…  Better if you both consume that much garlic in one sitting.  I ordered My 85th Rodeo IPA from Woodland Empire Ale Craft in Idaho (pictured in this painting in front of the iconic Spenard sign that hangs next to the stage) and a Solid Gold from Founder’s Brewing Co.  I exited right before a secret show began featuring The Lucky Chops, because I didn’t bring hearing protection, and I’m just too old to handle loud music at this point.  The place went from being modestly busy to teeming with people for the music.  It’s like Anchorage has been starved for a hangout that isn’t a bar and people are finally finding their fix.  We have Koot’s and Van’s Dive Bar, and even the newly revamped Carousel Lounge, but La Potato is different because it is a restaurant first. 

As I pack up my bags tonight and make the grueling drive back to the big city tomorrow, I am not sorry to leave, because the fun is in Spenard where the spirit of McCarthy is alive and well.  I will pass the slumbering Roadside Potato as I drive out and will look forward to its glory in the summer months, but this winter is all about Ancho“RAGE,”!

Cheers to Pamela and Rebecca’s brainchild that is rocking the socks off the block in Spenard!

Only one original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159.  My 85th Rodeo by Woodland Empire Ale Craft, pictured at La Potato in Spenard, Anchorage, AK. 6"x12", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159. My 85th Rodeo by Woodland Empire Ale Craft, pictured at La Potato in Spenard, Anchorage, AK. 6″x12″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

   

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Frequently Asked Questions about How to Commission a Painting

Commissioned oil painting. Oil on panel, 36″x18″. By Scott Clendaniel.

I noticed that many of my customers who order a custom oil painting have never commissioned a painting from an artist before.  A custom painting is a very thoughtful and unique gift, especially for a person who has everything.  So, to make the process easier, I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about commissioning a painting from me.  *This may not apply to all artists.

1. How much does it cost?  Here is a list of prices for my standard sizes:

6”x12” $180

8”x10” $195

11”x14” $275

9”x18” $295

12”x24” $450

16”x20” $525

2. Can I get any size I want?  Yes, I can make custom sizes.  You can contact me for a price quote, but expect an average of about $200 per square foot.

3. Is a frame included?  Yes, every painting that leaves my studio is framed in a natural wood frame with hanging hardware installed, so it’s ready to hang.

4. Can you paint on canvas?  I normally paint on wood panel, because it’s more durable than canvas, which can sag, and rip.  However, if you are really set on canvas, I will accommodate your request for an additional fee of $150.

5. What is the turn-around time?  Depending on my work load, turn-around time is 2-3 weeks (oil paint takes 7-10 days to dry), plus 3-5 days for shipping.

6. How do I know what my painting will look like?  You can expect your painting to be in the same style as the rest of my artwork.  I will ask you to send me photos of your subject matter, and I will compose a sketch for your review.  This is your chance to make any changes you’d like, and we’ll keep working on a sketch until we get it just right.  Once the painting is finished, I will send you a picture of it, and you’ll have one more chance to make small edits before the oil paint starts to dry.

7. How do I order the painting?  You can order a Custom Beer Painting, a Custom Airplane Painting, or a Custom Bike Painting online directly from my Etsy shop.  You can also just call me, send me an e-mail, or a direct message through social media, or this blog.  My contact information is available on my website.

8. Do I need to come by the studio in person?  You are welcome to make an appointment to meet at my studio to discuss your painting, or to pick up the finished piece.  But if that’s not possible, the whole process can be accomplished online, and I will mail the painting to you, or directly to the recipient.

9. When do I pay?  Full payment is due upfront, before I begin working on the first sketch.

10. What payment methods do you accept?  I accept all common payment methods, including cash, check, credit card, PayPal.

11. What if I can’t find photos for the painting I want?  You can look through my existing paintings and select one that you really like, and I can paint a similar one for you.  I can also look for reference photos online that have no copyright restrictions, and through my extensive photo library.

12. Can you make prints of my painting?  The artist retains copyrights to the image.  You can purchase copyrights for a negotiated fee, otherwise you can order prints from me if/when you need them.  Standard prints pricing applies ranging from $25 – $55 for a signed, and numbered limited-edition print.

If you have additional questions that I didn’t cover here, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #158. Beer Glass Styles.

How many beer glasses do you need?  As many as you can possibly fit into your cabinet, that is how we do it here at Real Art is Better!  I found that having the right glass for the beverage you are consuming makes the whole experience that much better.  When I was looking for subject matter for this week’s Thirsty Thursday beer painting I thought about a series of different beers with different glasses.  I remembered how fun it was to paint the Kandinsky-inspired Teku glasses painting, and bada bing, bada boom I arrived at this composition.  This one took a lot longer than usual, due to all the details, and the larger size (24″x12″).  Let’s name the glasses and types of beer I would put in them for fun.  Left to right:

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #158. Beer Glass Styles. 24"x12", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #158. Beer Glass Styles. 24″x12″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

  • The classic beer mug.  Good for any style of normal beer, pilsner, lager, stout, amber, or Irish Red.  Mostly a 5% alcohol by volume type of beer.
  • Next is a snifter.  I would put a high ABV brew in this type of glass, a Belgian double or triple, an imperial stout, a barleywine, or something barrel aged would be perfect.
  • The next one is obviously for hefeweizen, or maybe a Belgian witbier.
  • The Teku tulip glass is good for just about anything, but I would put sour, or funky beers at the top of the list.
  • The Shaker pint is an all-around crowd pleaser, a jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none type of glass.  I would not pour anything over 8% alcohol in this glass as it will just get you too drunk too fast.
  • The Spiegelau IPA glass is obviously for India Pale Ales.  Might you wonder why I put a rainbow in this glass?  It is to show the diversity that IPA as a style represents from English, Black, West-Coast, Belgian, NEIPA, DIPA, Imperial, Milkshake, coffee-infused IPA, and on and on.  Really, there are so many styles of IPA.
  • The last glass on the right is a Speigelau Stout glass.  I didn’t mention how these glasses are made from really amazing quality of crystal.  My Aunt Barbara in California won’t drink wine from anything but fine crystal.  Maybe you should do the same for your beer?  Anyway put a stout in it.

Whatever your glass and whatever your style, remember to love it, or leave it.  Don’t drink all 7 in one night, it is way better to enjoy beer moderately.  There are diminishing returns when it come to fine ales!

Cheers to your favorite beer!  May you always have the correct glass for your enjoyment!

The original oil painting sold.  Limited-edition prints of this painting are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter. 

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #157. Patterns DIPA by Anchorage Brewing Company.

     NovemBEER is here!  And what would I like to drink this November?  Hazy IPA!  This painting depicts Patterns DIPA at Anchorage Brewing Company, served up in a Teku glass just like you would receive if you were to show up to Gabe Fletcher’s tasting room right there at the brewery.
     My friend Sam is a huge fan of Anchorage Brewing, and when he was here for AK Beer Week in 2015 we went over to the new brewery before it was even open and peeked through the windows.  We weren’t the only ones, because Greg Koch, the owner of Stone Brewing also showed up hoping to get a tour of the new facility.  Somebody called Gabe to see if he would come let us in, but it was his wife’s birthday, so we were out of luck.  Sam was telling me in the parking lot that he was really excited to see what ABC would be doing with IPAs because he heard that there were going to be steel tanks at the new facility.  Sam is from Philadelphia and he had tasted some ABC collaboration IPAs at Tired Hands Brewing, so he knew something I didn’t, because up to that point ABC had only made delicious funky sours, imperial stout, and barleywine.  Well, now the word is out that Gabe makes redankulous IPA.  Averaging $18-$20 for a 4 pack of 16 oz limited edition cans.  I would argue it’s well worth the cost and is right on par with what Tired Hands is putting out in Philly.  I personally love the KUIU, Lines, Crazy Rays, all the Patterns (IPA, DIPA, and TIPA versions), and the Anchorage version of Alien Church is excellent.  So if you love hazy East coast style IPA get over to ABC to get some of the steel tank goodness available in the limited edition cans and on draft.  Of course it is limited quantities and you can pretty much only get it at the source!
     I love that ABC uses the Teku glass.  Your beer lasts longer as you drink it rather than a standard shaker pint which tapers at the bottom.  It looks classy as well, like a special wine glass for beer fans.  And it holds 14 oz to the top.  These glasses enhance the aroma of the beer and funnel the flavor right into your nose, which is especially important for these fresh IPAs!
     Cheers to hazy East coast IPAs, a style that just keeps evolving!  Although I would call Gabe’s version Anchorage style IPA!

Only one original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #157. Patterns DIPA by Anchorage Brewing Co. 6"x12", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #157. Patterns DIPA by Anchorage Brewing Co. 6″x12″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Life Changes on the First Day of Snow

~ by Maria Benner

First Day of Snow

Today is the first day of snow!  This is a very exciting day for most people, and this year it happened on a Monday, making the dreaded first day of the week a bit interesting.  We all know the first day of snow is coming, but for some reason most of us choose not to do anything about it.  But this morning we quickly realized that we’d have to add some extra chores to our list today if we want to continue with our regular daily tasks, like driving.

  1. Change tires on our vehicles to winter tires.  Preferably studded ones, which have the best performance on ice versus the ones that claim to be studd-less winter tires.  Some stores, like Costco, stopped carrying studded tires, because they cause so much road damage, but we found a place just a couple blocks from our studio that still sells them, and tomorrow we’re dropping off our truck so it can get brand new studded tires put on it.
  2. Switch to our fat bikes that also have studded tires.  We ride bikes to the studio from our condo, because the studio is only 1 mile away, and we have to pay for parking.  So today we had to air up the tires on those bad boys, and get them ridable again for the first time since last March.
  3. Put the big brushes that we use to clean the snow off our truck back into the truck.  We took them out for the summer to have more space in the back seat.
  4. Pull out winter boots, and put away summer shoes.  Same goes for winter jackets, hats, gloves, etc.  Good luck finding all that stuff after several months.
  5. We live in a condo, so we don’t have to worry about snow removal, but most people had to clear their driveways on top of all the other snow-related chores.

We still have to wash our summer bikes to make the transition to winter complete.  Right now we’re excited for winter, and all the activities we’ll get to do like ice skating, skiing, and fat biking.  Ask me again in a few months how I feel about it.

In case you’re looking for some indoor activities now that it’s cold outside, this Friday we’re hosting a First Friday Open Studio event.  Stop by and see the newest oil paintings for the first time, enjoy some complimentary refreshments (Scott always bakes fresh cookies), and meet the artist if you haven’t already.  Click here to see the event on Facebook.  If you’re not on FB, here are the deets: November 2nd, 5 – 7:30pm, Suite 4 inside the 4th Avenue Market Place on 333 W 4th Avenue.

Talkeetna Air Taxi flight over Denali

One of the newest oil paintings never seen by anyone in person yet, except the artist and his Business Manager. 36″x18″, oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #156. Damnation Ale by Russian River Brewing Co.

It’s that time of year when people go nuts, wear strange clothing, dress their dogs as goldfish and hit the streets to beg for candy while threatening to vandalize their neighbor’s property.  Also known as Halloween.  I chose Russian River Brewing’s Damnation Ale for this week’s beer painting release for obvious reasons.  Damnation is a damn good version of a Belgian golden strong ale.  Rocking in at 7.75% ABV, it is aptly named.  I know many barleywines are much stronger, but you can easily taste the booze in them.  This beer will get you when you don’t realize it, good thing it comes in a 375 ml bottle.  This is pretty much a great example of the style.  With esters of fruit and pear and peppery overtones, Damnation is a poster child for Belgian golden strong ale.  Yet it is made right here in the USA.  Sadly, I am completely out of my Russian River stash of bottles that we brought back from our trip to CA two summers ago.  I was just thinking it’s time for another trip there.  I painted a wildfire in the background of this painting as that is the closest thing to hell I can think of.  I give solid respect to all of our forest firefighters,  you are doing one hell of a job.  I can’t think of a more physical and mentally challenging career.

Cheers to the Damnation, one damn good brew!  Great job, Russian River Brewing, you are one of the best breweries out there!

Only one original oil painting, and a limited number of prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #156. Damnation Ale by Russian River Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #156. Damnation Ale by Russian River Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #155. Sierra Nevada Brewing Celebration Ale.

Today is Thirsty Thursday again and that means it’s time to look at and think about new beer art, not to mention drink beer!  This week’s beer painting is of Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Fresh Hop Ale.  About 15 years ago I used to not like IPA, and my go-to brew was actually porter, if you can believe that.  Way back then I was confused what Celebration Ale actually was, and I started to like what I was drinking and thought the nice floral qualities were simply spicy grains for a spicy holiday beer….right….wrong!  I learned it was a fresh hop IPA and I was like, “Oh yeah, maybe I do like IPA,” and I came around.  I can say I have been enjoying IPA for well over a decade now, and it has actually become my favorite style.  I wish that Sierra Nevada was able to brew Celebration all year long, but sadly the hop harvest season is in October and the first batch of Celebration is being bottled right now.  Two years ago in early November we made a pilgrimage to Chico to check out the facility and drink some Celebration right at the source!  I highly recommend doing this if you happen to be in California.  The guided tour is amazing!  The success story about Ken Grossman and his startup business makes me believe anything is possible.  The sheer size of the production facility is amazing and the copper kettles are so beautiful.  When you finish the tour you get a 2 oz sample of everything they are currently serving, which ends up being over 20 ounces.  I did a painting of the oaked Narwhal onsite after our tour.  One of my favorite things about Sierra Nevada’s facility is the outdoor seating in the beer garden.  Tasty food at super reasonable prices, and huge pints.  If you are there at this time of year you can get Celebration on draft!

Cheers to the Celebration Ale, a seasonal beer release that is worthy celebrating!

Only 1 original oil painting is available, and a limited number of prints at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #155. Celebration Ale at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. 12"x14", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #155. Celebration Ale at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. 12″x14″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Copper Brew Kettles at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA.

Copper Brew Kettles at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, CA.

Hops room at Sierra Nevada brewing

A room full of hops!